Season 14 of America’s Got Talent begins the third round quarter-finals on Tuesday night, and a new slate of returning finalists will be competing during the live show. On August 28, the performers set to take the stage at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood include singer Benicio Bryant, beatboxers Berywam, Detroit Youth Choir, magician Dom Chambers, opera singer Emanne Beasha, magician Eric Chien, tambourinist Gonzo, comedian Jack Fabulous, dog act Lukas & Falco, singer MacKenzie, and guitarist Marcin Patrzalek.
However, during each live show, the judges select one wildcard performer to get one last chance to show off their stuff, and returning to the reality TV competition on Tuesday night is hoop aerialist, Matthew Richardson. From Savannah, Georgia, after Richardson’s first audition on AGT, in which he performed a routine to the song “Memory” from the musical Cats in silver spandex and glitter on his chest, he was lauded by all four judges, Julianne Hough, Simon Cowell, Gabrielle Union, and Howie Mandel.
The freelance graphic designer shared with viewers that he was a late bloomer into the world of aerial. At age 26, he quit his job and started training at school for acrobatics. Now, the LGBQT advocate performs all over the world with Cirque de Soleil.
“When you think of professionals, you think of people who’ve trained their whole life,” Richardson said. “You don’t think that you can start this sort of thing at 20-something years old. I really believe this show has the potential to change my life.” The video of his first AGT audition already has nearly 2 million views on YouTube.
When the 33-year-old returned for Judge’s Cuts, he performed a routine set to classical background, “String Quartet No. 5,” with the sound of his late father’s voice playing over the music. While his mother sat in the audience in tears, Richardson explained that his dad, who fully support his circus career, passed away of pancreatic cancer a month after being diagnosed.
The panel, including guest judge Brad Paisley, gave him a standing ovation, and commended Richardson for performing such a moving tribute to his father. But ultimately, Richardson was eliminated from the competition. That is, until now.
Wildcard Performers Aren’t Doing So Great in Season 14
Every act that make it through the quarter-finals will go on to compete in the semi-finals, and have the opportunity to earn a coveted spot on AGT‘s two-night season finale beginning on September 17. And while it’s exciting that Richardson is back in the mix, the two previous wildcard performers have barely been able to make the cut.
During Round 1 of the live shows, singer Ansley Burns would’ve been sent packing if she hadn’t won the Dunkin’ Save. During Round 2, wildcard magician duo, The Sentimentalists, were sent home after receiving the lowest number of votes. So, while the wildcard acts have the support of the judges, their fate now rests in America’s hands.
For the performers who make it through to the next round, they will be joining the following already approved acts in the semi-finals: Greg Morton, Messoudi Brothers, Voices of Service, Ansley Burns, Alex Dowis, Luke Islam, Kodi Lee, Tyler Butler-Figueroa, V. Unbeatable, Light Balance Kids, Robert Finley, Ryan Niemiller, Chris Klafford and the Ndlovu Youth Choir.